Facebook has begun notifying users that it plans on retiring its '@facebook.com' email addresses in a few days, bringing to a close a failed initiative by the company to replace users' email with its own messaging system.
The company this week said it has begun notifying those who use "@facebook.com" that soon they will no longer be able to receive email in their Facebook Messages inbox. Come March, any emails sent to users' "@facebook.com" addresses will be forwarded to the address they have listed as their primary email.
Facebook said users will also have the option to turn off the forwarding feature if they do not wish to receive any messages.
"We're making this change because most people haven't been using their Facebook email address, and we can focus on improving our mobile messaging experience for everyone," a Facebook spokeswoman said in an email.
Facebook rolled out the "@facebook.com" email feature in late 2010 as part of a large move by the company to position themselves as users' default messaging system, whether it came to sending mobile messages, instant messages or email messages.
While Facebook has a successful mobile messaging app and is used on the Web to send messages among friends, the email part of the initiative never caught on.
However, Facebook should be fine when it comes to how users message one another. The decision to retire "@facebook.com" email addresses comes just a few days after the company agreed to pay $19 billion for WhatsApp, a popular mobile messaging app.